LIMA — The 7th annual Community Enrichment Dinner will be one of the most inspirational dinners held, according to Jerome O’Neal, chairman of the Community Enrichment committee.
“We’ve always tried to, in the past, get a speaker that could be inspirational to the community. The enrichment dinner has always been designed to create a sense of hope, opportunity and certainly a sense of strength in the community like Lima/Allen County, and that has been a goal of the speakers in the past. This year’s dinner is going to be a speaker probably, if I had to say, he is the most inspirational speaker that we’ve had. It will be very uplifting,” said O’Neal.
The main speaker, Steve Pemberton, will tell his story of overcoming an abusive foster family to find a way to succeed and to discover where he came from. Pemberton is author of the book, “A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past and How He found a Place Called Home.” His book has been made into a major motion picture, “A Chance in the World,” which will be released in theaters May 30.
A second speaker has been added to the dinner — Jill Poppe Mackenzie, with the National Youth Advocate Program.
Poppe Mackenzie is a licensing specialist and foster parenting specialist who recruits, trains and licenses foster parents in the Lima area. The National Youth Advocate program is a foster care mental health agency that has been in the Lima Allen County area for 40 years. The program was founded here and has grown to serve the state of Ohio as well as eight other states.
“The growth potential and the energetic support of this area are there and we are proud to be a continuing part of the Lima area. We are particularly happy to be a part of the Community Enrichment Dinner and Steve Pemberton. The community enrichment dinner has a great legacy of supporting our Lima area as well as the Potts Entrepreneur Center, and part of that I see foster care as helping our youth in our community really become those vibrant leaders of the future. It only took one person to help Steve Pemberton find his way out of the hellhole that he was in. So you don’t have to be a foster parent to help a child. But when we help a child or youth recognize their full potential, we are helping all of our community,” she said.
Proceeds from the dinner help fund the Walter C. Pots Foundation, which supports the development of minority and small businesses in Lima/Allen County. To date, more than $92,700 has been donated to promote minority businesses in Lima/Allen County.
”I want to make sure that the community understands that sometimes people don’t look like you or come from the same circles that you come from. It’s still important for the community to grow, respect differences and include and, above all else, understand the importance that diversity has in the community,” said O’Neal.
The Community Enrichment Dinner Awards will be presented at the dinner.
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511.